Sea Scallop Plan Overview

The Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP was implemented in 1982 to restore adult scallop stocks and reduce year-to-year fluctuations in stock abundance caused by variations in recruitment. The recovery of the scallop resource and consequent increase in landings and revenues is striking given that average scallop landings per year were below 16 million pounds from 1994-1998, or less than one-third of the present level of landings. The dramatic increase in scallop abundance has resulted in the development of a highly profitable commercial fishery in which Atlantic sea scallops are neither overfished, nor is overfishing occurring.

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Plan Amendments, Frameworks, and Specifications

Plan Amendments

November 3, 2016
Amendment 19 establishes a specifications process outside of the current framework adjustment process and adjusts the start of the scallop fishing year from March 1 to April 1.
June 30, 2015
This action establishes standards of precision for bycatch estimation for all Northeast Region fisheries.
July 22, 2011
Amendment 15 was developed primarily to implement annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) to bring the Scallop FMP into compliance with requirements of the MSA as reauthorized in 2007. Amendment 15 includes additional measures recommended by the Council, including: A revision of the overfishing definition (OFD); modification of the essential fish habitat (EFH) closed areas under the Scallop FMP; adjustments to measures for the Limited Access General Category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) fishery; adjustments to the scallop research set-aside (RSA) program; and additions to the list of measures that can be adjusted by framework adjustments. NMFS has disapproved a provision that would have allocated additional scallop catch to the LAGC fleet because it was not consistent with National Standard 1 and the ACL requirement of the MSA.
Under Development
December 1, 2004
Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2, currently under development
June 12, 2007
Amendment 13 was developed to permanently re-activate the industryfunded observer program in the Scallop FMP through a scallop total allowable catch (TAC) and days-at-sea (DAS) setaside program that helps vessel owners defray the cost of carrying observers. The following observer program management measures are implemented by this rule: Requirements for becoming an approved observer service provider; observer certification and decertification criteria; and notification requirements for vessel owners and/or operators. This action also requires scallop vessel owners, operators, or vessel managers to procure certified fishery observers for specified scallop fishing trips from an approved observer service provider. Additionally, this action allows adjustments to the observer program to be done through framework action.
June 1, 2007
SBRM Amendment measures include: Bycatch reporting and monitoring echanisms; analytical techniques and allocation of at-sea fisheries observers; an SBRM performance standard; a review and reporting process; ramework adjustment and annual specifications provisions; a prioritization process; and provisions for industry-funded observers and observer set-aside programs.
September 24, 2004
Amendment 11 was developed by the Council to control the capacity of the open access general category fleet. Amendment 11 establishes a new management program for the general category scallop fishery, including a limited access program with individual fishing quotas (IFQs) for qualified general category vessels, a specific allocation for general category fisheries, and other measures to improve management of the general category scallop fishery.
December 19, 2003
Amendment 10 includes a long-term, comprehensive program to manage the sea scallop fishery through an area rotation management program to maximize scallop yield. Areas will be defined and will be closed and reopened to fishing on a rotational basis, depending on the condition and size of the scallop resource in the areas. This rule includes measures to minimize the adverse effects of fishing on Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) to the extent practicable. Amendment 10 also includes updated days-at-sea (DAS) allocations, measures to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable, and other measures to make the management program more effective, efficient, and flexible. In addition, NMFS publishes the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control numbers for collectionof- information requirements contained in this final rule.
October 9, 1998
The amendments describe and identify EFH for the specified fisheries, discuss measures to address the effects of fishing on EFH, and identify other actions for the conservation and enhancement of EFH. Atlantic Salmon Amendment 1 also discusses a definition for overfishing and establishes an aquaculture framework adjustment process for Atlantic salmon.
March 22, 1999
These amendments implement regulations to achieve regulatory consistency on vessel permitting for FMPs which have limited access permits issued by the Northeast Region of the NMFS
October 7, 1998
Amendment 7 final regulations reduce the fishing mortality rate in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery to eliminate overfishing and to rebuild the biomass in accordance with the requirements of the Sustainable Fisheries Act.
February 10, 1997
Amendment 6 provides a framework abbreviated rulemaking process to address gear conflicts in the New England and MidAtlantic regions.
July 11, 1996
The final rule closes a 9 mi2 (23.31 km2) site to transiting and fishing with other than hand gear for an 18-month period to allow for the conduct of a NMFS sponsored sea scallop aquaculture research project, provides for exemptions from the closure for vessels using certain gear types and for vessels participating in the project, and provides for temporary exemptions for vessels participating in the project from certain fishing regulations that might inhibit or prevent their performing any activity necessary for project operations.
March 1, 1994
Amendment 4 substantially revises the management of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery, especially regarding effort control in the fishery, permits and reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
February 5, 1990
This rule requires: All sea scallop dredge vessels and all vessels landing more than 5 bushels (176.2 L) of sea scallops in the shell to offload all fish (as defined in 50 CFR 620.2, which includes sea scallops) within a specified 12-hour offloading period; and (2) all other vessels landing more than 40 pounds (18.1 kg) of shucked scallop to offload all sea scallops within a specified 12-hour offloading period.
July 22, 1988
Amendment 2 (1) specifies a 10 percent increase in the meat count standard during the months of October, November, December, and January, the primary period when spawning causes reduction in individual meat weight of scallops that have reached harvestable age; and (2) provides a framework regulatory mechanism to change the magnitude and/or timing of the adjustment of the meat count standard during the spawning season.
December 30, 1986
This final rule implements a Secretarial Amendment to (1) supersede Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Sea Scallops (FMP), (2) provide authority to the Director, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Director) to grant exemptions from the regulations for the conduct of experimental fishery operations beneficial to the sea scallop resource or fishery and (3) make a change in the sampling criteria used to measure compliance with the meat count standard.

Framework Adjustments/Specifications

Under Development
January 30, 2018
March 27, 2017
Framework 28: Sets specifications for the scallop fishery for fishing year 2017; revises the way we allocate catch to the limited access general category individual fishing quota fleet to reflect the spatial management of the scallop
fishery; and implements a 50-bushel shell stock possession limit for limited access vessels inshore of the days-at-sea demarcation line north of 42° 20′ N. lat.
May 4, 2016
Framework 27 sets specifications for the scallop fishery for fishing year 2016, including days-at-sea allocations, individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip allocations; creates a new rotational closed area south of Closed Area 2 to protect small scallops; opens the northern portion of the Nantucket Lightship Access Area to the Limited Access General Category fleet; transfers 19 percent of the Limited Access General Category access area trips from the Mid-Atlantic Access Area to the northern portion of the Nantucket Lightship Access Area; and implements an accountability measure to the fishing year 2016 Northern Gulf of Maine Total Allowable Catch as a result of a fishing year 2015 catch overage. ​
April 21, 2015
Framework 26 sets fishing specifications for 2015, including catch limits, days-at sea allocations, individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip allocations.
April 17, 2014
Framework 25 sets specifications for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery for fishing year 2014, including days-at-sea allocations, individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip allocations.
May 20, 2013
Framework 24 sets specifications for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery for the 2013 fishing year, including days-at-sea allocations, individual fishing quotas, and sea scallop access area trip allocations.
May 7, 2012
Framework 23 minimizes impacts on sea turtles through the requirement of a turtle deflector dredge; improve the effectiveness of the scallop fishery’s accountability measures related to the yellowtail flounder annual catch limits; adjust the limited access general category Northern Gulf of Maine management program; and modify the scallop vessel monitoring system trip notification procedures to improve flexibility for the scallop fleet.
August 1, 2011
The specifications in Framework 22 are based on, and are being implemented in conjunction with, the management measures in Amendment 15 to the FMP (Amendment 15) that establish the process for setting annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) to bring the FMP into compliance with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).
June 28, 2010
Framework 21 specifies the following management measures for the 2010 scallop fishery: Total allowable catch (TAC); open area days-at-sea (DAS) and Sea Scallop Access Area (access area) trip allocations; DAS adjustments if an access area yellowtail flounder (YTF) TAC is caught;
December 24, 2007
This action maintains the trip allocations and possession limits established the interim measures that were enacted by NMFS on June 21, 2007, for the Elephant Trunk Access Area (ETAA) in 2007 to reduce the potential for overfishing the Atlantic sea scallop (scallop) resource and excessive scallop mortality.
June 1, 2008
Framework 19 was developed to achieve the following management measures for the scallop fishery: Limited access scallop fishery specifications for 2008 and 2009 (open area days-at-sea (DAS) and Sea Scallop Access Area (access area) trip allocations);
June 15, 2006
Scallop fishery specifications for 2006 and 2007 (open area days-at-sea (DAS) and Scallop Access Area trip allocations); scallop Area Rotation Program adjustments; and revisions to management measures that would improve administration of the FMP. In addition, a seasonal closure of the Elephant Trunk Access Area (ETAA) is implemented to reduce potential interactions between the scallop fishery and sea turtles, and to reduce finfish and scallop bycatch mortality.
October 21, 2005
Framework 17 requires that vessels issued a general category scallop permit and that intend to land over 40 lb (18.14 kg) of shucked, or 5 bu (176.2 L) of in-shell scallops, install and operate vessel monitoring systems (VMS).
November 2, 2004
The Joint Frameworks establish Scallop Access Areas within Northeast (NE) multispecies Closed Area I (CAI), Closed Area II (CAII), and the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area (NLCA).
March 1, 2003
NMFS issues this final rule to implement Framework 15 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP) developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (Council).
May 1, 2001
This final rule implements management measures for the 2001 and 2002 fishing years, including a days-at-sea (DAS) adjustment, a Sea Scallop Area Access Program (Area Access Program) for two areas that have been closed to scallop fishing in the Mid-Atlantic, and a 50–bu (17.62 hectoliters (hl)) possession restriction of in-shell scallops on vessels shoreward of the vessel monitoring system (VMS) demarcation line.
June 15, 2000
This final rule implements the 2000 Sea Scallop Exemption Program (Exemption Program), creates Sea Scallop Exemption Areas (Exemption Areas) in portions of multispecies Closed Area I (CA I), Closed Area II (CA II), and the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area (NLCA) and includes the following management measures:
March 1, 2000
The intent of Framework Adjustment 12 and these final regulations is to adjust the limited access scallop days-at-sea (DAS) allocations for the fishing year March 1, 2000, through February 28, 2001.
June 15, 1999
This final rule creates a 1999 seasonal Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Area (Exemption Area) in and adjacent to Closed Area II and includes the following primary measures for vessels fishing in the Exemption Area:
August 28, 1998
These regulations extend the closure of a 9 mi2 (23.31 km2) site to transiting and fishing with other than hand gear for an 18-month period to allow for the conduct of a NMFS-sponsored sea scallop aquaculture research project.
August 13, 1997
These regulations exempt limited access and general category permit holders fishing exclusively under the State Waters Exemption Program (Exemption Program) from the 400 lb (181.44 kg) trip limit.
July 19, 1996
This rule expands the qualification criteria for limited access vessels fishing under the scallop days-at-sea (DAS) program to use trawl nets to include vessels with an engine of no greater than 450 horsepower that have used a scallop dredge on no more than 10 trips from January 1, 1988, through December 31, 1994.
March 11, 1996
This framework adjustment permanently reduces the maximum crew-size from nine to seven.
August 9, 1995
This action modifies a demarcation line in the current regulations that is used to monitor vessel activity. The intent of this action is to enhance enforcement capability.
July 31, 1995
This rule implements measures that prohibit limited access vessels, fishing under the days-at-sea (DAS) program, from using trawl nets, with the exception of vessels that have not used a scallop dredge since January 1, 1988, to the present, and requires all dredges to have a minimum number of rows of steel rings extending from the ‘‘after end’’ to the club stick.
May 1, 1995
This framework adjustment temporarily adjusts the maximum crew limit on certain vessels participating in the scallop fishery from nine to seven through February 29, 1996.
December 4, 1995
This rule implements framework adjustments that revise a provision in each of the FMPs that requires all permit applicants to own a fishing vessel at the time they apply for or renew a limited access permit.
November 16, 1994
This rule implements an exemption from Federal gear regulations for vessels when fishing in state waters under a state scallop management program.
August 17, 1994
This framework adjustment temporarily adjusts the maximum crew limit, redesignates the fishing year for sea scallop to being on March 1 each year, and refines existing gear requirements